tv Next Presidents Foreign Policy CSPAN April 15, 2016 9:25pm-10:56pm EDT
indiana university recently hosted a conference about america's role in the world. in one of the discussions from the gathering, former diplomats and intelligence and national security officials offered advice to the next president. this is an hour and a half. so we're here today to talk about whether the obama approach, call it a doctrine, call it a policy, of scaling back of retrenchment and a repositioning is one that the next president ought to change and reconsider or maybe even deepen. and we have the perfect panel to engage in this conversation.
to my right is jessica mathews. you have everybody's bio, so i'm just going to say a few highlights from my own personal experience which i'm very honored to say i have with each of my colleagues here. jessica is the president of the carnegie endowment for international peace. she served in government as a columnist and been a driver on a wide range of foreign policy issues throughout her career. i encourage you to check out her writing in the new york review of books, it feels like it's every week. i guess you did have one the last couple of weeks. the most recent of which as far as i know is in the march 24 issue. it really tries to address and come to grips with some of the very issues we're going to be talking about today. also chris hill. chris, am i counting three-time ambassador? >> four. >> four-time ambassador, poland, iraq, macedonia. what am i missing?
>> south korea. >> and south korea of course. a fellow dean at the corbell school. another outstanding international affairs school. named after the father of my former boss, madeline albright. somebody who has experience across the world on some of the toughest issues from bosnia to north korea. someone who worked very, very closely as well with dick holbrook and his most recent book is "outpost: life on the front lines of american diplomacy." it's really a terrific memoir. chris kojm was in my rolodex back in the 1980s. if you don't know what that is, we can talk later on. he was for many years, 15, on the staff of the house foreign affairs committee under lee
hamilton and then went onto be the chairman of the national intelligence council for five years until 2014. and is now a professor at george washington university. and the national intelligence council, the nic for insiders publishes something called global trends every four years, the most recent one being 2035. as the chairman of the nic, that was something that chris was deeply involved in and we'll have a chance to talk about a bit. and to my far right is steven macekura who's a professor in sgis in our department of international studies, an international historian, teaches u.s. foreign policy, grand strategy among many other issues. his new book is of limits and growth, the rise of sustainable development in the 20th century published just before the conclusion of the climate change
talks in paris. in late november and december of last year. so welcome to all of you. thank you for joining us. jessica, i think i'll begin with you. ben rhodes talked about a number of specific policy issues that would be at the top of the president's agenda. in some of your writing and our personal conversations, you also wanted to point to maybe some of the structural issues that you think also are important and potentially obstacles for the next president. wonder if you might want to take the lead. >> okay. let me just start by saying how happy i am to be here. for anybody who spent many, many years in washington working on foreign policy, coming to indiana is something in the nature of a pilgrimage to say thank you for lee hamilton and dick luger. so it's a great pleasure to be here.
first, i will say this is an exercise we go through every four years. it's an important one. what's the inbox. one thing we can say for sure is that whatever we say will be wrong because foreign policy really since the unexpected collapse of the soviet union has been a series of surprises. and, you know, who could have told us we heard at lunch that because somebody chose to put a bomb in his underpants that this would change profoundly the policies of the obama administration. so i -- you know, harold mcmillan famously said when he was asked what do you most worry about when you think of foreign policy. he said events, dear boy, events. we should bear that in mind. but i do think that the most important set of considerations and the most limiting for the next president is not going to
be what's in the inbox, but what is around it. and that is the state of our domestic disunion and uncertainty about the nature of the u.s. role in the world, what we want it to be, what we think it can achieve. you know, we went through 50 years of the cold war, a period of unusual stasis. while we had lots of disagreements, nobody had a question about what was our central purpose. since then, we've had nothing but questions about what is our central purpose. at the same time -- and those have grown in these 25 years. the same time, while we also have always had political polarization, it has never been this deep. and we've never had a situation where issues are kind of automatically politicized on arrival on capitol hill. and i want to come back and say
a word about that because i think we really have moved into a new -- a new realm. and then finally, globalization has meant that there is a constantly expanding scope of foreign policy. so things that were always domestic are now international. so at the same time that foreign policy is more powerless because there's deeper disagreement about the nature of our leadership role, there's more and more stuff in that basket. whether it's cybersecurity or epidemics or drugs or energy or name it. it's become international. evidence that i take of stuff that is new, never before in our history has congress openly tried to undermine a president in the middle of a negotiation with a foreign adversary. as far as i know, that statement
is totally correct. at least i've published it, i haven't gotten any feedback on it saying you forget 1792 -- but congress did it three times in 2015. inviting netanyahu to come stand in the congress knowing that the purpose was to attack the president's policy in the middle of a negotiation. that's the first time. second was this infamous cotton letter that was signed by 47, all republican senators. no, not quite all. 47. explicitly designed to undermine the u.s. position in the negotiations. and the third time was senator -- was the senate majority leader, senator mcconnell sending an aide to meet with governments of several of the key states last summer saying, don't make commitments
with the united states in the paris climate talks because they're built on a house of cards. they won't be sustained. so on three occasions, this was an explicit open attempt to undermine a sitting president's negotiation policy in medias res. if you look -- you know, the constitution set up a conflict between the president and congress and it's been forever. insofar as the supreme court has ever tried to speak on it, the most important was a decision called u.s. v. curtis wright export and it said, i wrote this because i find this a fairly unusually clear statement, the president alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation. in the field of negotiation, the
senate cannot intrude and congress itself is powerless to invade it. that was a 7-1 decision. so things have changed. and i think that the president faces a moment of unprecedented need to clarify and try to lead a national conversation on what is -- what are the answers to these questions that we are talking about. how big a leadership role do we want to play. what kinds of things are we able to do and what kinds of things are we not. what can we afford to -- and i will say that trump's comment the other day that we're too poor to be leader is nonsense. these are -- these are issues that have i think never been more urgent to have a conversation about and never have we been less able to have it.
>> is -- is there an example -- >> yeah. >> -- of a leading foreign policy issue that you expect to be in the president's inbox that is going to be a hampered or suffered because of this sort of dysfunction that you're describing so well? >> ben ended by talking about north korea, right? we would be in a different position now if the senate had been able to ratify the comprehensive test ban treaty which was an american initiative proposed by john f. kennedy, a priority of ours for decades, turned down by the senate during the clinton years and therefore not enforced because it's an odd treaty that requires a particular list of countries. so we and china in trying to deal with north korea lack a certain degree of moral
authority and presence that a functioning treaty regime confers in the same way that the nonproliferation treaty was able to bring together the p5+1 across the table from iran. that's one example. tamara gave an example earlier this morning about the administration unable to get money to implement a foreign policy in response to the uprisings of the arab spring. treaty commitments are crucial. we are currently waging war in the middle east under two legal authorities. one passed in 2001 in response to 9/11, and one passed in 2002 authorized war in iraq. neither of them is really
relevant to pursuing a war against an enemy that didn't then exist. both congress and the president, to a certain degree, have resisted trying to pass a new authorization of military force because -- because of the enormous lack of ability to confront these really -- these tough questions. they -- and so -- so we proceed without -- you know, without that. so -- and of course on the treaty front, you could give any number of examples because, you know, we were -- we were hobbled going into paris because we knew and the world knew that they
could not pass a mandatory set of commitments because the senate would not approve such a treaty and ratify such a treaty. we have not ratified a multi-lateral treaty since the early 1990s. in the few hopeful years right after the end of the cold war, we ratified three of them. since then, they have either been defeated, put on the shelf, not sent up, or turned into executive agreements. so the united states right now has a 20 plus year record of being unwilling, unable to ratify multi-lateral treaty. so that affects not only what we can do, but what others will attempt to do. so i would say that -- i mean, in part, i would answer your question by saying i think these hobbles on us affect almost
everything that our colleagues are going to talk about. >> and in the case of iran where the president was ultimately able to conclude a deal, the resolution in congress had to be crafted as one of disapproval because it was impossible to get a majority to support. >> right. but notwithstanding all the outrage that you heard about the president making such an important decision without sending it to congress is wrong. because in the last five administrations, each president has concluded roughly 800 executive agreements per four-year term. and many of those are both parties and irrespective of whether it's a democrat or republican and who controls the senate. major, major commitments. so it has nothing to do with minor things. and in fact, international law
doesn't care how you reach approval internally. it's just as binding whether you do or don't. so what was really notable about the iran deal was not that he did it as an executive agreement, but that he was forced to compromise and send it to congress for approval or disapproval. >> we are in a period, i think, of unusual dysfunction, profound dysfunction and that does cripple and make extraordinarily difficult the job of trying to craft a strategy, because of the uncertainty about what the american people want. certainly what we're hearing
about make america great again provides no guidance because it doesn't mean anything. i think any president is going to come into office facing a degree of strategic vacuum that i don't know of any other president quite comparably has faced. >> well, thank you. and switching gears just a bit, chris left us with his list, his tasty sandwich of issues that will be handed to the next president and be at the top of his or her in-box. how would you prioritize for the next president the top issues that he or she has to face? >> first of all, let me say what
a pleasure it is to be here in indiana university. i know it's a tough time after losing to north carolina. but you know, there's always a next year. >> i'm going to remember that. >> a couple of months ago, i was in my office minding my own business and my secretary, my assistant said we have lee hamilton on the phone for you. i thought oh, my gosh, lee hamilton is calling me? he asked me to make sure i was going to show up. and of course i'm going to show up because i think former ambassadors to poland should stick together here. anyway, it's great to be here. we talk about this proverbial in-box. it's an extremely important question. america doesn't need to be great again. the problem with that line is not only does it make no sense it's flat-out wrong. anyone who's been an american
diplomat, anyone who has been an american overseas knows when you speak, people listen. people really want to know what does the united states think of these issues, what's the united states going to do about these issues. we're kind of it. and those who say well, this is china's century, we're kind of turning over the baton to china probably haven't been to china. as tough os as our president's in-box may look, i am sure the leader of china xiajing ping would trade in boxes in a new york minute, so to speak. we have our political problems, but i've heard in the course of my career, i've heard several times where people were counting out the u.s., used to be for economic reasons. now it's because of our nasty politics. i would not want to be a u.s. diplomat overseas explaining the context of some of these
discussions that go on in the so-called debates. we are going to have to kind of straighten up a little and try to work this through. i would certainly start by supporting what jessica said, which is we've got to sort of get our internal political things straightened up. there used to be this quaint notion that politics starts at the water's edge. politics just gets going at the water's edge. i think jessica was very kind when she only mentioned three examples of undermining the president. there are about 300 of them. i think people need to understand we have only one president. why do we sometimes look weak in the world? it's not because of that president. it's because of all this grinding criticism of everything our president does. and so i think we got to, you know, dial that back a little. n rhodes interestingly started by talking about the south china sea.
i don't think we have a problem in the south china sea. i think we have a problem in beijing. i think we're looking at a country that has -- china which it's a country, but it thinks of itself as a civilization. it's a complex series of issues. this morning, there was some discussion of what sovereignty means. when you think of sovereignty, you think of all these sort of european things. when china looks at sovereignty of their neighbors, this is not a westfolian model. it's a model of tributary states. it's hard to undo a couple thousand years of history in how china will manage countries like philippines and countries like indonesia. when they look at a country like north korea because that's -- i'm going to put that way at the top of the inbox, they also don't know quite what to do. china for all the talk about it
being this communist dictatorship, it's a country really run with a certain consensus in mind. i would say the united states president is a stronger figure than the chinese president. and so china i think has a very difficult time forging that consensus on what to do with a class a problem like north korea. you know, the u.s. newspapers, lot of talk, well, the chinese don't want to let north korea go down because after all you'll start getting refugees, you know, wading over the river and what would china do with 20 million refugees. that assumes that north koreans would go north. i think even with a state of compass making in north korea, i think most of them would actually want to go south. secondly, that's not what bedevils china. what bedevils china is not that they can't handle refugees. it's the notion that for many chinese, especially in the
security services the demise of north korea would be somehow a victory for the united states and a defeat for china. it is not a foreign policy problem for them as it is for us. it is more an extension of their domestic issues. after all if a marxist estate goes down, obviously very few similarities between the system in china and the system in north korea. a lot of people would be concerned what is that going to do to the debate within china between people who really want to throw off the system that they have and people like xi jinping who sort of want to keep it, reform it and manage it. so they don't want to see this, and yet something has to be done about this. i know you'll have a discussion later on about proliferation issues. but since i left this account back in the beginning of the obama administration, it is pretty clear that the north
korean regime is interested in developing nuclear weapons. they have shown zero signs that they are interested in doing anything else. now, there was a -- for a time, kim jong-il seemed to be kind of interested in the process and certainly he cared about his relationship with china. then as you recall in summer of 2008, kim jong-il became kim jong very ill. he had a stroke. but you knew it, they had essentially pulled back from the entire process. now, the obama administration did -- they talked about, well, we need to be patient. which for me was quite ironic because the chinese always told me to be more patient and i always told them to be less patient and then to hear our own administration talking about patient and adding that word strategic patience to somehow convey wisdom.
but frankly, it gave north korea sort of eight free years to be working on it. i'm not suggesting whatsoever that the obama administration should have engaged or pushed for a negotiation. we did it in my watch in the beginning of 2005. not because we saw some great opening with north korea. is a but we saw that the south koreans were so upset at the way the first push administration -- first bush term had behaved that we created a situation for ourselves where some 45 -- almost 50% of south koreans were blaming the united states for north korea's nuclear ambitions. so that had to be changed. it was changed. i don't think any -- it's down
to where it should be in terms of percentages. but we need to -- we need to make sure that we continue to find of fly in formation with the south koreans. that's going to be the successor state on the korean peninsula. we don't want to mess up that relationship again. i think we need to really do a deep dive with the chinese on this issue, on south china sea, on number of issues. and i would humbly suggest following lee hamilton's suggestion that we need to put some really real suggestions on the table that, you know, when i was in iraq -- and i'm going to get to the middle east in a second. when i was in iraq, president obama appointed vice president biden to come and visit us like every six weeks. it seems like every six days when you have a vice president descending on you. but the point of that was, this issue's important, i'm putting my vice president on this like a rug.
and so vice president biden was there all the time, it seemed. you know, it was pretty clear that this was a top priority for the administration. let's get iraq right. i think the new president needs to get the new vice president to have some specific assignments and i would put china at the top of that. you know, i think china -- my concern about china is not that it's too strong and it's going to take over the world. my concern about china is that it could become too weak. i think when an important state like china or russia becomes too weak, that's when it becomes more dangerous. and i think we need to spend a lot more intellectual time working china. so that's number one. and i think north korea's part of that, you know, making sure
that the chinese understand we're not going to take some strategic advantage. we're not going to put listening posts up there. nor are we going to make a condominium of china at the expense of sovereignty for south korea. so we need to manage this relationship in a mature way and make sure that our interests there and our reputation there remains as great as it has always been. turning to the other huge issue in the middle east, you know, there are a lot of fault lines in the middle east. there are certainly autocrats and people yearning for democracy. there's also a sectarian fault line.
and i think we just need to be a little more honest about what we're doing in the middle east and understand that as much as i'd like to impose our agenda on the middle east, we can't. do you remember those days back in 2003, 2004, when we had otherwise serious people in serious positions saying, we are going to create an iraq, a city on the hill that the other arab states would admire and ultimately would see that model as something that they want to follow. well, iraq is a shia majority state. the rest of the middle east, every single country putting aside syria, is sunni run. do you truly think the sunni arab states are inspired by the example of shia led iraq? they are not. and so just kind of missing basic facts like that i think had a huge effect. so i think, you know, since we're in an educational establishment, we should start by doing our homework and understand what we're talking about. i think to talk about this as a shia-sunni problem in the middle east is to miss the point of
what is going on within the sunni community. and what specifically is going on between the saudi model of sunniism and the rest of the middle east. and that is part of the problem. i think we talked a little earlier -- certainly during the middle east panel about the fact that you have several -- you know, you have some four powers in the middle east, all of whom have been playing a very different role from the way they have traditionally. traditionally, turkey, absolute nato power being an adult nearby presence, but look at what turkey's been up to lately, you know, in syria, and frankly in iraq. i saw some of this and it wasn't the turkey i knew. so we've got to really pay some attention to what is going on in turkey. when you look at iran, you know, this is not so -- so easy as people think. to say that, well, iranians should stay out of these arab areas, i would love them to stay out of these arab areas. if you climb into the way back machine and go to 1501 you will see why iran has these weird connections to places like southern lebanon when aran was sunni and became shia, we need to understand that a little better as we try to establish some patterns of cooperation with the iranians.
this nuclear deal is just about a nuclear deal the way moby dick is just a story about a whale. there's a lot more going on under the surface there. and i think we need to understand that this iran thing is important and we need to stay on top of it. we need to understand that divided society a lot better than we do. and we also need to be very clear that when saudi arabia is worried about the nuclear deal, it's not because all the saudi nuclear scientists are saying, we're worried about the verification provisions of the heu possibilities there. it has to do with their concerns that we are now dancing with an old partner and that we've somehow gone back to the future with the 1970s. so i think these issues in the middle east require a lot of wisdom, and i think we need to be very careful, one, to show
leadership, because we do need to show leadership. and as much as i like the idea of pivoting to east asia, i think we did create unintended consequences. we left the middle east with a sense that we didn't want to be involved. now we're back in spades dealing with the middle east. we left europe with a sense that maybe we didn't care as much about the atlantic relationship, and worse yet to come back to my first point, we create add situation for the chinese where they thought we were actually beginning a sort of encirclement. when you think of the -- i'm going to go back to china for a second. when you think of the shanghai accords, did it naug rate a great moment for u.s./china relationship? not really. what it did mean was sort of the end of the -- of the china -- the sino-soviet relationship. you can date the end of the cold is
war to 1972. so i think we need to be careful as we -- with pivots not to create unintended consequences. and, you know, in diplomacy, a big pivot like that was going to create the unintended -- middle east feeling left out, europeans left out, and the chinese feeling encircled. little things in diplomacy can create huge problems. you remember in 1815, congress of vienna, the russian ambassador keels over from a heart attack and the french ambassador says why did he do that. even small muscle movements can cause people to wonder what your real objectives are. we need to be careful giving into this idea that we need grand strategy and grand concepts. and remember jessica's point, it's about events. and you need to be able to react to those and react very smartly. within -- i just want to go back and then i'll stop. on the middle east, you know, when we look at these issues of
migrants, these issues of -- of -- this whole issue of radicalization, we need to address syria. and we need to address syria with all the players who need -- who have a part in it. one of the -- there were two terrible mistakes in the middle east. one was saddam hussein had nuclear weapons, the second was that bashar al assad would be gone in a matter of weeks. when the administration said he's going to be gone in a matter of weeks and we were accused by the "new york times" of being a little slow, we're going to pick up for lost time and be fast with assad. he is not gone in a matter of weeks. there were other countries with a stake in syria. i think it's the wrong stake. i think syria needs to reflect its sinai majority, even though i would rather people be democrats and republicans rather than sunnis and shia. but that's the political identity and we have to be realist about that.
so i think we need to be -- as we approach syria, we need to understand that everyone has a stake in this even the iranians in this, and we have to manage it a lot better than we have. and ultimately, if you want to stop a war, you don't have a cease-fire. cease-fires don't stop wars. what stop wars are political arrangements that everyone more or less agrees on so people think, do i really want to be the last person to die in this civil war when i know what the outcome's going to be? so i would like the new administration, i'll go further, i'd like this administration right today, like yesterday, make clear what the future is for syria. you know, people make a lot of complaints about the date and peace accords that we were kind of laying out the future of bosnia, who are we to tell them. well, when you kill 200,000 civilians, you lose the right to feel patronized. we need to be a lot clearer with the syrians. it's going to be decentralized.
you're going to have upper and lower chambers. i can do it on the back of a used envelope. it can be done because it's been done before. and then when people are focused on the future, then it becomes easier to have things like cease-fires and even elections. elections in the absence of political and democratic structures are just a census. the only thing you can tell from an election in syria is how many sunnis there are, shias, christians, et cetera. i don't think this should be a matter of retrenchment. i think it should be a matter of much more engagement than we have done to date. i think military should be a last resort and we should not be talking foreign policy and talking about the military. it should be a last resort and it should be ready for that. when we go in, we need to go in very strongly with a very strong position.
>> i didn't bring an envelope, but i will give you one. another place you didn't mention, i want to move to the other chris, but -- when you have a chance to come back, you didn't mention russia and given your experience there, i'd be very curious -- >> very briefly. i mention that i think it's a declining power. and i think it's dangerous as a result. i think putin is particularly dangerous. i don't think we're going to shame him into being less dangerous. i think we do need to look for areas in the world where we can somehow cooperate with him. i would suggest syria as painful as that is. but i think ultimately we need to do, and i hope you would agree with this lee that
countries like poland are happy to be in nato, they would just like more signs that nato's in them. we do need to look at a more eastward projection of nato. but i think it needs to be done with considerable care in a way that doesn't invite a response. and as for -- i wish there was something that could be done about crimea. i don't think there is. but i think there is something that can be done about the rest of ukraine and i think we need to focus very hard on that with our european partners. >> thank you. so chris, is it -- was it 2035
global trends -- >> 2030. the next one's 2035. >> i see. chris, we've sort of spoken about the domestic dysfunction. we've talked about the top of the inbox in a comprehensive way. you can talk about both of those things very well having been in congress and given your other responsibilities. maybe from the perspective of someone who worked at the nic. can you sort of talk in the longer term, about the trends, whatever is -- whatever are the urgent problems will drive the foreign policy challenges and
imperatives for our next president? >> i'd be happy to do so. first of all, i'm really, really pleased to be here at this beautiful and great school. and also to acknowledge what an honor and privilege it has been for me to work for the better part of a quarter century for congressman lee hamilton in many different capacities. just a highlight of my career and his outstanding public service. so let me turn to your question here. just a word about global trends. it's prepared every four years for the new administration. the next global trends report will come out in december after
the election and before the inauguration. and it is looking forward 15 years to what is the nature of the international order, what can the united states and policymakers expect. so i want to speak to four, what we call, mega trends. these are trends that are really unfolding in the international order irrespective of events. events are really important and will drive what these trends
mean, but it's i think important to note how these trends will unfold. the first one i want to mention is individual empowerment. and in two respects. one, the i.t. revolution has fueled that. so with your iphone in your hand, you have more power at your fingertips than nasa did when it did the moon launch. more than ibm had in its mainframes the. and this powerful tool has done astounding things, social media, helping to ignite the arab spring.
and social media profoundly changing how businesses and economies as well as political orders behave. it is a disruptive technology in every sense, many of which are positive. some which i'm sure we'll take up in the proliferation panel are very negative in that individuals or very small numbers of people can do very dangerous and deadly things with this power that they now have. a second aspect of individual empowerment that i do wish to mention is really the astounding growth worldwide of the middle class. hundreds of millions of people, especially on the asia pacific rim and in china, but elsewhere in indonesia, turkey, brazil, india, hundreds of millions of people are now in the middle class. what does that mean? the good news there is for the first time in human history, half of humanity is no longer absolutely impoverished. so it's a good news story for humanity. the political implications of the growth of the middle class,
which will grow by several hundred million more between now and 2030, the political implications are that middle class people want. they want better education for their children. they want better health care. they want a cleaner environment. they want a more accountable government. they want less corruption. and they want a voice. they want to have agency and participation in their future. now, what this means for governments everywhere are a lot of problems. governments are not going to be able to meet what those populations want. that's true whether it's aauthoritarian governments and god knows it's true with democratic governments. so and let me move on from that to the problem of governments to the next mega trend that i want to mention which is the diffusion of power. we've touched on it with several speakers already. in the world of 2030, the relative role of the united states will be diminished compared to other powers. the united states in many respects will still be the most important player, the first among equals. by china by 2030 surely will have a bigger gross domestic product and differentials in military, economic and technological power will have diminished simply because of the fact of globalization, because
of information technology. the diffusion of power in many ways reflects the diffusion of knowledge where really somebody today with internet access and who is determined to investigate a topic can really know as much, almost as much as senior leaders in government. it is an equalization in knowledge across the board. the third mega trend that i want to speak to -- and this is one where i feel i can speak with great authority, not near certainty, but certainty because demographics, i can tell you how many 18-year-olds there will be in china in 2030 because they're all born already. but on demographics, some things that the next president and our policy community really will have to think long and hard about is that 97% of the world's population growth will be outside of the advanced industrial economies. 97%. africa in the world of 2050 will have one-quarter of the world's population. nigeria will replace the united states as the world's third most populous country after china and india by around 2035 or 2040. in europe, japan, and korea, the median age in 2030 will be 45. in germany and japan, it will be
50. one-quarter of those populations will be over 65. we don't have examples of such aging populations in human history. and for leaders in europe, if you're running a social welfare state with fewer workers, more pensioners, woo, the problems you face will be profound, as well as from the united states' point of view, how will they be able to invest in new and dynamic economies, military spending, et cetera. china today is younger than the united states in the world of 2030, it will be significantly older than the united states because of the one child policy which is leading to a rapidly aging population.
and china could well be old before it is rich and faces the problems of social services, health care pensions in a vastly different demographic environment. now, in the advanced industrial world, the good news is with the united states of america where our population will only modestly age from 37 to 39 as the median age in the world of 2030. for china, the comparison goes from 35 to 43 and i've told you ant the europeans. what this means is the united states will be the most dynamic, robust economy among the advanced industrial countries. this is very good news for the united states. it also speaks directly to the question of our immigration debate.
immigration made and makes and will make this country great. urbanization, today, half of humanity lives in urban areas. in the world of 2030, that will be 60%. 60%, 50%, what's the big deal? the big deal is it's another 1.5 million people between now and 2030 will be moving into cities. that's the equivalent of ten new york citys from green fields to the present day, ten new york citys every year. that's the extent of urbanization on the planet that is unfolding now. now, the good news is that urban environments are where ideas
develop, economic growth occurs, they're the drivers of positive change. there are also the shantytowns and centers of future class warfare, if that change doesn't take place well. the pressures of urbanization lead me to the last mega trend i want to mention here, and that is the pressure on resources, energy, food, and water. all these middle class people moving to cities, there will be an increased demand for food of some 35 to 40% in the world of 2030. much more than the growth of population which is probably 10% or 12% between now and 2030. that's because middle class people have higher incomes and they want, and they want meat and dairy products and better
nutrition. so this will be a severe press on the environment and a severe press on water resources which are under very great pressure already today. let me come back to china. in china, surface water in rivers and lakes, 60% is unfit for industrial use. and china also has no agreements on water rights with any of its downstream neighbors. and so it's building dams and it has never asked laos, thailand, vietnam, cambodia their views at all. it's a huge setup for diplomatic and political conflict, possibly actual kinetic conflict in the future over resources. and coming back to lee hamilton's point at the outset, some of the implications as to what it means for the president,
as you look at these mega trends, what impresses me most is that for the united states to advance its interests, to address these trends and every international problem which is an international problem, can only be solved by coalitions and international engagement. we cannot address any of the issues outlined here in the absence of strong international coalition, strong u.s. engagement in the world. and i wanted to come back, my very last point, lee, is onto what our first panel talked about, human rights and democracy. the structural conditions in the world of the future are very good for individual rights because of middle class people and their agency, and because of the power of technology in
people's hands and their ability to affect great things, working in small groups, working in corporations or ngos, they do not have to rely on governments for so much as in the past. so let me stop there. >> well, thank you very much. that's very good. all right. we've talked about the future. now, to our historian to talk a little bit about the past and as you see fit, stephen, presidential transitions, bucket lists, hundred day plans or how presidents envision what their future challenges would be and how they ended up. >> sure. well, i'd like to echo my panelists first and thanking our conveners for putting together such a wonderful event. i also want toty you out there
for coming, especially the stient students. when you look back through what presidents hope to accomplish in their first year, first hundred days, a couple common themes emerge in retro pekt that will easy nate with some of what we've already been saying. new presidents will move too quickly to distance themselves from their predecessors and do so in such a way to undermine their own goals in the desire to appear different or live up to promises they made on the campaign trail. for example, george w. bush when was elected, went by what historians call the abc policy. the anything but clinton policy. anything the clinton d the
administration needed to move quickly away from. even against wishes of some of the other members of the administration like condy rice. there was also now a growing consensus among historians that this policy led some in the administration to play down the threat posed by terrorism. they very much believed it was necessary to take a step back, not only reflect on the tactics and the ongoing policies between the u.s. and soviet union, but some of the most basic assumptions about the u.s. foreign policy from the soviet union wlrks the united states could trust in mikhail gorbachev, where the strategy was sound. many historians look back on this as a really wise decision. one that helped calibrate the administration's priorities going forward. gave them great confidence to not involve themselves too much in the revolutions that squept across eastern europe in 1989 and let them really sort of
understand and reflect on goals that they wanted to achieve. >> so all that is to say taking a break, pausing, reflecting can actually be effective in this political climate. i think there's real virtue to it. the second theme that emerges again and again. be really careful about what you say on the campaign trail. it may hem you in in the future.
now at this point, this advice is no longer relevant to at least two front-runners on the republican side. but it really bears reflection as well. and so i think a really good example of this is john f. kennedy who lambasted richard nixon, eisenhower's vice president for being soft on communism in the third world and no more so than in cuba. cuba had gone communist with fidel castro's revolution in 1959. and then it was a really big issue in the campaign trail. and kennedy slammed the eisenhower administration and nixon in particular for not being strong enough on cuba, for not being aggressive enough, for not taking the initiative. so when kennedy. co-s into office, he inherits this harebrained scheme to overthrow and topple the castro government, which had begun with the cia you should eisenhower, what became the bay of pigs fiasco.
not only did kennedy really hem himself in and felt the need to be strong on cuba and to make this kind of risky maneuver, but actually conditioned his thinking in really critical ways. it limited the range of options h ehad available to him about how to deal with the castro regime initially. it led him to feel that his credibility was very much at stake and that his credibility could only be preserved through a bold and decisive action, such as that kind of intervention. and it ultimately led to really hasty planning and poor critical analysis of whether or not a plan like that would actually work. and so that is simply to say as much as possible in this campaign cycle. to get through how what you say is going to govern and how that's going to help you define your strategic authorities, how that will help you assess the means you have available to them.
just to echo jessica's wonderful point earlier. i think one of the great innovations of the obama administration is recognize earlier on climate negotiations were going to be shaped by the fact that they could put nothing before congress. so the most daunting national security challenge of our time, the entire international architecture that we now have to solve it is based on the fact that we could not get congress involved. that is really striking. and it's also telling that the obama administration recognized early on. moving forward, just using a pause, a time oreflect, being careful what you say can help you think through ways you can tackle big problems. without being too narrowly hemmed in by your own doing. >> that's terrific. >> we have more than 12 minutes.
i have a question for you. we have until 5:15, is that right? super. when you talked about succession and the eagerness to distance onesself from one's predecessor, i'm curious in your search whether that's consistent, even if the transition is is a friendly one. >> yeah, very much so. when george h.w. bush came into office, he was vice president with the reagan administration. they were obviously very close. jim baker culled it a hostile takeover in trying to separate the h.w. bush administration from the predecessors in the reagan administration. they wanted to kick out all the reagan appointees and put together their own new team as well. and that was part of this larger strategy of saying look, we are going to come in, run our own ship. we're also going to take time
and really reflect on what that's going to look like. and we're not going to just rapidly try to distance ourself from our predecessors, nor are we going to blindly accept what we're inheriting. >> thank you. i remember the transition i lived through. it's a time that's particularly vulnerable to mistake because you have a few people that have been confirmed and a few more that can't sign a memo. basically, nobody yet know what is their telephone number is or where their desk is. and people pick up on signals that the president has given in his inaugural, racing off with initiatives. and my first experience in
government was in the carter administration. and we spent years trying to undo mistakes that were made in that period when really none of the systems that -- the good ones that think through policies before you run off with them are in place. and it just is a vulnerable time, whether it's friendly or not friendly. >> it's really important who you pick as your people in this first initial year. and that you have a good process in place for collecting information for analyzing information and making dises based on that information. and so another sort of good anecdote of this is so that the first year of reagan's first term was in terms of bureaucracy and logistics and absolute mess.
when asked to describe the first year, no one was clear who was going to do somewhat. so if you have an idea who's going to be involved and how you can allocate responsibility that can help hopefully ease over some of the inevitable tensions. >> the first panel, we really haven't talked about europe. the eu is facing almost three existential threats at once. and i think its capacity to meet all three, you would have to -- you know, if you were placing a bet, you would have to say not so great. but to the extent that we have a world order and to the extent that we have a reliable and powerful and important partner, europe is it. and i think the eu survival is enormously important to the
success of most of what the u.s. wants to achieve other achieves we talked about. i think what we ought to remember is that it's not our in box, europe is facing a continuing euro crisis and stagnant growth, and the really serious threat of british exit -- it's a very -- it's in a very tough place. >> and the ability to address almost any of the issues that we talked about today either relies on europe, or is much more difficult without transatlantic cooperation. in a smart way in poland and in the united states. the good news is we now have time for more questions. if i could ask you to wait for the microphone, please stand up,
identify yourself and ask away. >> hello. my name is dan lopez and i'm a student at the school of public environmental affairs. my question is mostly for chris. particularly the growth of representations. when wae look at projections for 2035, how does climate change exacerbate or how is it factored into these models. or more to another point, would you consider climate change to be a national security or a national or international perspective that we should be considering and looking at these forward trends? >> the answers are pretty straightforward. yes, climate change has a dramatic impact on national security, and it really makes every trend i've mentioned in a lot of ways more difficult. so with food and water, changes in climates and established agricultural patterns, any change to what is the historical
norm will make life more difficult. if there's a drought in northern india for a couple of years, hundreds of millions of people will die. and with respect too -- i didn't speak to it with respect to energy, but what we have, it's been referenced earlier today, very significant trends on dropping prices for solar power and battery storage, ben rhodes alluded to some of this. we are moving rapidly towards a clean energy future. government incentives can influence that, but the technological trends are
powerful. and in this respect moving in the right direction. now following hydrocarbon prices slow that down, but will not reverse it. >> yes, please. woman on the right. >> i'm a first year masters in public affairs improvement. as a cheen nies national since 2012, chinese major newspapers have been publish ing articles on this year will be the toughest year for chinese economy and this never ended until -- this still is going on. they just published a new article on this coming year,
2016 will be the toughest year for chinese economy. in the u.s., everyone is talking about the rise of china and the power of china. so i guess my question is, is the u.s. government prepared for a declining china? what would happen if there's one of these days chinese citizens are so tired of chinese government giving away blank checks to african governments and giving away money to everyone else, but solving the problem domestically. what if there's another civil riot in china? is the u.s. government prepared? and how would the u.s. government possibly react to that? >> please. >> no. i mean, i agree with the premise of your question. i think, you know, if you talk to people in washington, china
is this enormous thing that's somehow threatening our position in the world. and yet, i think when you talk to people who know china and understand the issues, they are much more concerned about the trends that you're talking about, which is the weakening of china. concerned about the weakening of the economy. and by the way, a weakened chinese economy is not just for china so suffer, it's for a lot of other countries to suffer. i would also be concerned about let's say china got into the position of russia where, you know, kind of really -- i mean, talk about negative demographic trends spop if china got into that situation, would you see a rise in nationalism? would you see a government
trying to get more favor with people, you know, giving these negative economic trends. they would try to be, you know, even tougher with the neighbors, tougher with, say, vietnam, things like that. so i think you raise some very interesting and important issues. but i'm sorry to say, i don't think too many people in washington are really understanding this or following it.
i think we need a much more comprehensive approach to china. i think we need to be careful to set priorities with china. i think we we ought to be a whether itle careful on the name calling. i don't think that's particularly helpful. and i think generally speaking, we need to look for more patterns of cooperation with china. there are a lot of problems internally in china. i don't think it's for us necessarily to point them out. i think there are probably upwards of several hundred million chinese who have pointed out these problems to their government. i'm not sure what we can do in that regard. but dare i say, though, i think we have to be very vigilant about china, but also be very
patient with the just enormous shifts that have gone on in china in the last few decades. and not to understand that this is always going to be easy or easy for everybody in china. i'm thinking of rural areas who have this real sense of being left out of this miracle. so you can imagine the social tensions going on in china, and i'm not sure we have really adequately understood that such that our policy can be affected by those trends. >> you can get a picture of who it might look like for how russia has been. the way to keep a population's mind off the declining nature at home, is look abroad. it's like jumping on a tiger. it's really hard to get off. i think we're already seeing it. >> just two things to add. i completely agree with what both chris and jessica have said. one, on the demographics, the falling number of 18-year-olds in china is rising labor prices. strict supply and demand. and that's very bad for china's economy, because all those manufacturing jobs will move to vietnam and bangladesh and vietnamese's of the world. china is caught in a real economic bind. >> i think it's called the middle income trap. >> yeah, the middle income trap.
also the global trends report, i didn't reference it here, but we also look at scenarios for the world of 2030. and china figures in a huge way in these different scenarios. if you want a world that's on a positive track where the world is starting to get on top of its problems, it really is all predicated on the united states and china finding a way to work together constructively on most issues and containing their differences on those that remain. >> i just want to point out to students here, that conclusion was one that was produced by the u.s. intelligence community. i think that's a very important thing for people to understand. cooperation is not seen as in the country's mutual interest. please. >> we've talked about a number of trends that affect east asia, both in terms of hard military power, economic trends, but also
the demographic trends that the nic pays very close attention to and need to be -- they are an integral part of the conversation. also talk about climate change, water, all these things. in your estimation, how is it exactly that u.s. alliances in east asia, particularly with south korea and japan, who are facing these major social and demographic head winds in the near, medium and longer term, need to evolve in order to most evidentively in partnership with the united states, and to some extent with beijing and other, australia, singapore, even vietnam, how do they need to evolve in order to most effectively tackle these challenges. >> in context of a brief answer, how do they need to evolve, i think we need more multilateral structures in the region. i think too often issues are handled bilaterally. that is a tough channel. it's a constant alphabet soup. it's not just a crazy confluence of events that created all these things in europe. what they have clearly tried to
do is to figure out means to resolve conflict. and so if there's some nasty little land dispute with some country in southern europe, they figure out some committee that's, you know, embedded somewhere in the bowels of the eu where they can say okay, that committee is going to study that for the next ten years and they manage to deal with it. i think europe has done remarkably well. we shouldn't think of it as some kind of disneyland where you go for for vacation once the exchange rate turns better.
they have done a lot in these structures. and there's much to be admired. and, you know, when i look at -- i mean, i tried to work the so-called trilateral thing with the japanese and the koreans, and i felt like i was some kind of mediator and, you know, back on the balkans between serbs and croats or something. that needs to get better. people there, not just us, but people need to support it.
and as for the u.s., i think we have to stop this bad mouthing of multilateral structures and start coming to grips with the fact that many of these structures are absolutely in our interest to foster and develop. and so i think we need to kind of get off this wicket and start understanding that the world needs these webs of relationships that frankly can have the best chance of preventing conflict. >> can i just end on this last point? this is perhaps the sharpest single dividing line between republicans and democrats. in foreign policy. democrats like multinational and multilateral institutions and processes. and republicans hate it. and it has bedevilled our foreign policy. '. >> just to add to that, this hasn't always been the case. when the cold war came to an end, people trumpeted international institutions,
trumpeted international law pit's only very recently we have this kind of -- >> well, no. it wasn't -- it was very quick that turnaround. >> yeah, it was very quick. it wasn't recent. it was very quick. >> if you recall during the clinton years, the phrase that had to be put in front of the word multilateralism, assertive. >> okay, waiting patiently. right there. >> i'm megan poff and i'm a student. my question is for the panelists. as the u.s. stock of world power falls in the coming years, what will be the role of western-created institutions
like the world bank, the u.n., imf in solving international challenges? will they become obsolete or will they have to adapt to become more inclusive to the coming power structure? >> the very brief answer is yes. these institutions must evolve to reflect power relationships and the new international order or they will become irrelevant or at the very least delegitimized. there have been reforms at the world bank and imf in that direction. the congress of the united states in the last omnibus appropriations bill, approved that, so that was a step forward. both the bank and the fund have a long way to go to still reform. with respect to the un, the great irony here is that the united states supports the reform of the security council. we embraced india as a member
and we are open to japan and brazil as permanent members. the other four permanent members do not want reform. they view that and undermine -- that they view undermines their own voice and influence. and the problem is most acute with our closest allies, britain and france here. >> but on the other hand, while we support all of them, we also say the security council shouldn't get bigger. so, you know, can't get that big or it can't function. >> and we won't give up our veto. that's the other -- >> we have a contradictory policy. >> well, there are elements that do not seem to cohere. >> right. it's easy to be for security council reform when there's no chance of it happening. >> yes, please. here. we will get that next.
>> frank hess, the school of global and international studies. my question is principally for chris, but for the panel as a whole as well. and i am, as i was listening to your provocative presentation, i was struck by a contradiction. which is that u.s. soft power, the foundation, one of the main foundations is our lifestyle pattern, our consumption patterns. and our consumption patterns work against global warming, they work against the middle class. and what i'm wondering is to what extent there are people thinking about how the u.s. could model a different set of consumption patterns that might be more sustainable within an expanding world with less predictable weather patterns and more competition for resources.
>> and just for the sake of time, let's get both questions in together, so that everybody gets a chance. in the second row. >> hi, my name is luke wood. i'm with the department of political science here at indiana university. i just have a follow-up question on this ideological addition between republicans and democrats or conservatives and liberals over the role of american multilateral cooperation in american global engagement. it's not just that republicans and democrats are deeply divided on this issue, and this is reflected in electoral patterns, but that americans by and large are also very ignorant when it comes to american foreign affairs, so i'm curious what each of you might suggest in
terms of how we might address this issue, this ideological division between republicans and democrats on multilateral engagement, and how we might bring americans more successfully into an area of policy-making that very much suffers from a severe democratic deficit. >> thank you. these two questions are somehow related, it seems to me. why don't we go in reverse order, because i think we have enough time to give everybody a brief final word to address the questions or say something else. steven, why don't we start with you. >> so to the latter question first. it's remarkable that we're going -- at this point in the presidential campaign where they may have to defend nato. but i think it comes to the world order that was constructed in large part with grand intentions by the united states that was filtered and expressed through international institutions, not only the u.n., not only the world bank and imf,
but the world trade organization, the whole system of capital controls that allowed national economies to insulate themselves and develop growth plans, that treaty organizations like nato and the whole patch york of alliances and asia pacific, helped to condition a world that was far more peaceful in a grand sense than the one that came before it, where large nations went to war with each other, in the case of the 1930s and '40s with traumatic consequences for the whole world. and to explain in general terms, binding them to them, constructing the broad outlines of an effective world order like that, has rebounded to the united states, and i think that's one way presidents can take leadership and help explain why these institutions were created in the first place, why they've been so forcefully sustained over time and why it's in the interest of the united states to continue to do so. to frank's question, that's
something i think about all the time. i echo your concerns as well. >> chris, did you have any -- >> sure. on the consumption question, yes, there are mega trends that have internal contradictions, i accept the observation. i agree with it. and the growth of the middle class actually is much more dynamic in the asia pacific rim than in the united states. and so these challenges you outlined are very appropriate and to the point. with respect to the united states, there are important changes under way. our carbon footprint today is about the same as it was 20 years ago, with a much higher level of economic output. so important changes are taking
place in how we generate power, the fuels we use. so in the longer term, i'm optimistic about how the united states will address this on the question of the political divide, ultimately i'm very optimistic as well. because we live in such a globalized world. international educational exchange, the ben rhodes reference, how important that is, schools of international studies. but apart from that, you can't live anywhere in this great country without having profound international influences in your life. the investment by european and asian companies all across the south and the midwest, the presence of communities, that would have been unheard of a decade or a generation ago.
so in the long run, i'm quite optimistic that we will have a sustainable basis for u.s. international engagement. >> quickly, please. >> real quickly, but i do want to say that there are differences among countries as to how these countries see the world. so i think we have to be careful with the idea that somehow we can handle everything through multilateral channels. you know, we are a country where our values are very important to us. and we have a certain missionary zeal in pressing these values. i guess the issue is how we can turn these values into more international values without appearing to be kind of stacking the deck against countries, or weaponizing these values by internationalizing these values. i think issues like human rights
do need to be fully embedded in the international structures. and i think we've done a good job of that. and even though some countries say, you've just masqueraded american values as international, i don't think so. i think we've done okay with that. but i think we do need to keep in mind the complexity of that process and the degree to which some countries will reject that process and how we can kind of manage this in a way that does not appear that we are simply trying to stack the deck. >> thank you. and last word, please. >> okay, very quickly, you didn't limit your question to energy. but i think energy is the most urgent by far, and there i would say and i'm much less optimistic than chris, because while we have lightened our footprint a lot, our rate of change is slower than the rate of change in the environment.
so far, we have -- there are three policy levers that you can use. regulation, support for r & d, and you can use price. and so far at the national level, we've only used the first two of those, and the most powerful one sits there untouched. we will have to put a price on the carbon and other greenhouse gas content and thereby harness the power of the marketplace and there is so much that will flow from that painlessly. painlessly. but getting there is obviously a huge problem. on the -- i'm -- the u.s. has a very unusually powerful concept of sovereignty, and it's very wound up in our sense of ourselves.
i don't see its equal anywhere except in china, and that makes it really hard to work in these multilateral institutions unless we are clearly the pre-eminent power which we no longer really are, almost anywhere, not because we're weak, but because the world has changed. you know, it maybe seems like an inadequate answer, but surely the answer is education. i mean, you can't really inform people in a campaign setting. people are not listening so much. they may know that their welfare, you know, a farmer knows he's exporting and those markets support the price of his product, but, you know, i think this one is gonna be a long, tough road to hoe.
we all know these polls where americans are asked, they ask basic questions, locate england on a map and 17% of americans can do that. this is going to be really tough, and i think it comes back to this sense of sovereignty that goes all the way back to the very, very beginning in our history. and i don't think it has simple answers. >> well, thank you all for a very rich discussion that talked about the very different dimensions that influenced the next president's inbox, both globally, internationally, and also very interestingly domestically. please join me in thanking the panel. [ applause ]